Cool down this summer with our favourite varieties of hard seltzer. Hard seltzer, or alcoholic sparkling water, is the newest drink trend taking the UK by storm. Light and effervescent, these drinks are delicately flavoured with subtle sweetness.
Hard seltzer is usually lower in calories than more traditional options like beer or canned cocktails. Many brands are gluten-free and are around 4-5% ABV. They’ll be a firm favourite for events like picnics, camping and festivals. Seltzer is a great portable option as most cans are compact and easy to recycle.
Overall, we loved how refreshing these were on a hot summer day. They are an ideal option for those who don’t enjoy overly sweet cocktails – their mild flavours make them very drinkable.
But it does take some getting used to, we found some flavours were artificial tasting or not present at all. We taste tested a variety of brands and found very enjoyable options – see our favourites below.
The best UK hard seltzers
NATRL – Lemon & Lime (250ml) 4% ABV
The lemon and lime flavour from NATRL is a fantastic all-rounder with a zingy, citrussy kick. The flavour profile is very smooth and well balanced. It’s lived up to its name as it tastes very natural, and we found it to be the ideal level of sweetness. Very drinkable and refreshing on a warm day.
Chase – Pink Grapefruit and Pomelo (250ml) 5% ABV
For a more unique take on hard seltzer, try the pink grapefruit and pomelo flavour from Chase. Instead of vodka or grain alcohol, Chase’s seltzer range is made with its classic gin. It tastes much more upscale and a lot closer to a mixed cocktail. Our favourite option was the pink grapefruit and pomelo because of its sophisticated blend of citrus flavours. This would be a great option for cocktail pros.
Served – Raspberry (250ml) 4% ABV
For those who prefer fruity flavours in their drinks, the raspberry option from Served will be just right. The raspberry flavour is distinctive and tastes natural. It’s tart and sweet without being overpowering. While the flavour profile is on the simpler side, we found it to be really enjoyable, especially for those who may be new to the world of hard seltzer.
Bodega Bay – Elderflower, Lemon & Mint (250ml) 4% ABV
One of our top favourites, Bodega Bay has perfectly captured the delicate flavour of elderflower with zingy notes of citrus and cooling mint. This is definitely one of the sweeter options, with a strong flavour profile. It’s perfect for fans of elderflower cordial. We also really enjoyed the warming kick of Bodega Bay’s apple, ginger & açai flavour. Overall, it’s a sophisticated drink with sweet, punchy flavours.
White Claw – Natural Lime (330ml) 4.5% ABV
White Claw is the original seltzer brand that took over the US market. We were happy to discover the hype did not disappoint. The natural lime flavour is clean tasting and refreshing while softly carbonated. There’s no unpleasant aftertaste to wade through – a rarity in the world of hard seltzers. It makes for easy drinking and we kept reaching back for more. We also really enjoyed the black cherry flavour, which is a tad sweeter but not sickly.
DRTY – White Citrus (330ml) 4% ABV
The boldest flavour by far, we absolutely loved the white citrus hard seltzer from DRTY. Made from a fruit wine base, the floral grapefruit flavour is well balanced with sweetness and acidity. It has a pleasant aftertaste and long flavour resides on the tongue. It’s tart and zingy but not too sharp. We also enjoyed the raspberry rosé which has a subtle perfume. Both options are very easy to drink and super-refreshing.
Long Shot Drinks – Strawberry & Rhubarb (250ml) 4% ABV
Made with a blend of natural strawberry and rhubarb juice, the hard seltzer from Long Shot Drinks tastes very fresh with no artificialness. The fruity, tart flavours are perfect for summer day drinking on a long afternoon. The profile is mild but very enjoyable. We’d recommend this one for those who prefer fruity drinks. The seltzer comes in attractive packaging which a great bonus.
Smirnoff – Orange & Grapefruit (250ml) 4.7% ABV
The strongest option on our list, the orange & grapefruit hard seltzer from Smirnoff delivers a boozy kick uncharacteristic of most seltzers. This one is on the sweeter side with strong citrus flavours and very fragrant. It’s smooth with no lasting aftertaste. As it’s the most affordable option we tried, it’s a great value for a standard hard seltzer.
Two Brooks – Passion Star (250ml) 4% ABV
This hard seltzer from Two Brooks is a mellow and well-balanced drink with floral and fruity flavours. We enjoyed the tropical passionfruit notes and found it light but flavourful. Two Brooks’ range of products is made with an alcohol base from British apples. If you enjoy a classic passion fruit martini, this may be up your street.
Enjoyed these drinks? See more inspiration…
This review was last updated in July 2020. If you have any questions or suggestions for future reviews, or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on alcohol guidelines, read our guide to drinking responsibly.